Immigration is complicated. Donald Trump’s wall is not. It’s a really dumb idea. It’s designed to solve a problem that no longer exists. The full range of US policy towards Mexico over the past 20 years has actually been a rousing success. NAFTA played a part, allowing large scale migration played a part, and the incredible efforts of the Mexican people were the most important of all. If it weren’t for the insanity of the US drug war, Mexico would be well on its way to being a fully developed country.
It has a middle class now. A range of businesses are experiencing new success. Mexico is on the way up. As this video points out, the excess labor force has been almost completely employed. This Wall idea, 20 years past the point at which it would have any utility, will drive a wedge between the US and our newly successful neighbor to the South. The fears of pushing Mexico into the arms of China are probably over-blown, but why would we want to risk it? The Wall is a way to further screw up the relationship between the US and Mexico at exactly the wrong time. Furthermore, it’s completely pointless, as this video lays out.
Immigration has been bugging me a lot recently. The United States is a nation of immigrants, and I’m a big fan of more open borders in theory. The more I look into the actual practice of immigration, though, the less I understand. I’m completely convinced that we need more high-skilled workers. I would eventually like to see open borders between the Americas. But I do question why we continue to pack in low skilled workers in an era when low-skilled jobs are disappearing. It’s a puzzle. There is a lot more research I need to do. But I do know that the Wall is a really bad idea. Which is why I waded into these uncertain waters. To be continued…
Video Transcript after the jump…
Ladies and Gentlemen, Donald Trump’s wall is a very bad idea. Now I’m not talking about morals here, or ethics, or even money, though that’s pretty important. I’ve traditionally been an open borders type, and I’ve made some angry videos on the topic. But lately I’ve begun to question that a bit. I think we might not need to take in as many low skilled people as we do. I go back and forth. I’m a bit confused honestly. But I do know that Trump’s wall is useless. The vast majority of low skilled workers don’t come here illegally, they come here legally, and they don’t come from Mexico. Not anymore. Don’t trust me, well how about some stats?
In 2000 1.6 million people were detained at the border for trying to enter the US illegally. In the years since, something pretty dramatic has happened. But don’t take it from me, listen to this guy here, who is so anti-immigration that the Southern Poverty Law Center calls his organization a hate group.
Mexican immigration has gone down, that’s an unquestionable fact. It’s still significant, I mean we’re talking about 10s of thousands of illegal immigrants from Mexico still coming every year but it is lower, and in fact, last year, border patrol apprehensions on the Mexican border were actually about 52 or 3 percent non-Mexican, almost all central American, the rest were Mexican.
And part of the reason for that is there’s just… there’s almost no working age men left in rural Mexico to move here. I mean they’ve sort of run out of people to move here. Because what we saw, the reason we saw that huge flow into the United States wasn’t really NAFTA, it was that Mexico was modernizing. And like every country that modernizes people move from the country to the city as agriculture becomes more productive, you don’t need 10 people to farm the same plot of land, you have one person that does the same work.
Now there are two ways that people typically minimize this information. First they argue that maybe the numbers are going down because the liberals are getting in the way of enforcement. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The Department of Homeland Security points out that Since 9/11 the Border Patrol’s staffing has doubled. Other governmental resources have been switched to the border. Hundreds of miles have fences have been built, and the whole thing is now policed by drones.
Illegal crossings of the border are down by two thirds, despite the fact that Both the Bush and Obama administrations poured Billions of dollars into border enforcement. Now I’m not saying that we need less enforcement at the border, just that we don’t need any more.
The second way that people minimize this information is to claim that hordes of Guatemalans and Hondurans are still coming. This is transparently pretty ridiculous. Mexico is a country of 127 million people. Guatemala and Honduras, Nicaraugua and El Salvador have under 40 million people combined, and they’re all over 1,000 miles from any relevant border crossings. Most of the migrant poor from these countries gets absorbed in Mexico, or in the capital cities of their own countries. Child Migration from these countries was briefly an issue, but at it’s highest it amounted to tens of thousands of people a year, not hundreds of thousands. As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, thanks to birth rates, the problem of Latin American immigration is pretty much over. We do not need Trump’s wall.
I think Immigration might be something we should discuss more in the US. But the border wall is a completely useless idea. In fact, if you really care about low-skilled immigration, you should recognize that the wall and a focus on illegals is meant to distract from the issue, not address it.
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